Modern Devotion

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Modern Devotion (Latin, Devotio Moderna; Dutch, Moderne Devotie) was a medieval revival in the Netherlands in the Roman Catholic Church of which Geert (de) Groote (Deventer, 1340-1384) was the soul and animator. The movement resulted in the organization of the Brethren of the Common Life (Broeders des gemeenen levens) and finally also in the Windesheim monastic order, to which a number of monasteries and nunneries both in the Netherlands and Germany belonged. Though the Modern Devotion remained thoroughly Catholic—there are no traces either of deviation from Catholic doctrines or of fundamental criticism of the Catholic hierarchical system—yet this movement criticizing the immoral conduct of the clergy, particularly by the stress it laid upon Biblical piety—in pre-Reformation times the Bible was a nearly unknown book even among the clergy—created a type of new devoutness, devotia moderna, which proved to be very wholesome and of great blessing, preparing the soil for the Biblicism of Sacramentalism and Anabaptism.

There are, however, no direct connections between the Modern Devotion of the 14th century and the Sacramentist-Anabaptist movement in the early 16th century. W. J. Kühler overaccentuates the influence of the Modern Devotion on Anabaptism; N. van der Zijpp holds the opinion that it had no direct influence on the rise of Anabaptism in the Netherlands.


Hyma, A. The Brethren of the Common Life. New York, 1951.

Knappert, L. Het Ontstaan en de Vestiging van het Protestantisme in de Nederlanden. Utrecht, 1924: 33-52.

Kühler, Wilhelmus Johannes. Geschiedenis der Nederlandsche Doopsgezinden in de Zestiende Eeuw. Haarlem: H.D. Tjeenk Willink, 1932: 24-32.

Moll, W. Kerhgeschiedenis van Nederland voor de Hervorming II, 2. Arnhem, 1867: 164-78.

Post, R. R. De Moderne Devotie. Amsterdam, 1940.

van der Zijpp, N. Geschiedenis der Doopsgezinden in Nederland. Arnhem, 1952: 28.

Author(s) Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1957

Cite This Article

MLA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. "Modern Devotion." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 16 Jun 2021.

APA style

Zijpp, Nanne van der. (1957). Modern Devotion. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 16 June 2021, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, pp. 721-722. All rights reserved.

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